Thanks From a Minnesota Parent

Themes of gratitude and family are traditional for this time of year, and I will not make my first Editor's Journal an exception. Like many families on Thanksgiving Day, my daughter and I like to sit in front of a table full of favorite foods, then review the year and list all of the things for which we are thankful. This year, my "Thankful for" list includes "becoming editor of Minnesota Parent." I have read and written for this magazine since 1989, the year I moved to Minneapolis. I came to the Cities ostensibly because of my husband's career. The real reason, however, the one I was trying hard not to think about, was that I realized that my marriage had failed. I knew, whether I wanted to say the words or not, that I would soon be a single parent. If I were going to face raising a child alone, I wanted to do so in a community that supported parents, had parks, libraries, and strong public schools, and was filled with people who embodied Midwestern pragmatism, a quality I had come to appreciate greatly. So I chose Minneapolis.

In less than a year, my husband moved on, and my daughter (then two) and I stayed here. It took awhile to make friends; Midwesterners are reserved, but waiting for the friendships to build was worth it. Having lived in more effusive parts of the country, I knew that invitations to sip wine in hot tubs do not constitute friendships. In the decade that I have lived here, I have yet to be asked to dip into anyone's hot tub. I have, however, had my landlady drive my daughter and me to an emergency room late at night because I was too sick to take us myself. Daycare and deadline dilemmas have been regularly solved by friends who have welcomed Emily into their home while I worked. I now have an entire roster of friends who laugh with me, encourage me, and even schlep boxes for me during my many moves. I have dated men who say "I love you" by turning up at the door with a gallon of milk in one hand and a quart of anti-freeze in the other. Best of all, Emily has learned that the world, as scary and haphazard as it may sometimes appear, is filled with caring, compassionate, and practical people.

The friends we've made here combine the poetic and the pragmatic. Words can be a soothing balm, and I'm grateful for every friend who's called me in the late evening so I could spend a few moments listening to an adult's voice. Sometimes I've been too tired to follow the conversation, but I hear the cadence of caring and good-natured humor in their voices, and that is enough. Other times, I have had afternoon coffees with friends so insightful and witty I am buoyed by their energy for hours. ( I know the energy is from my friends--I only drink decaf.) Emily and I have also been the recipients of many practical acts of kindness. Friends have picked us up from the mechanic's when my car has been towed, passed along their child's outgrown sporting equipment to my athletic preteen, and picked up groceries for me when I'm home with a sick child. These acts and innumerable others have made our journey as a family easier and, many times, just plain fun.

I want Minnesota Parent magazine to be the kind of friend to you that so many people have been to me: a blend of the poetic and the pragmatic. Minnesota Parent has a tradition of bringing you articles that inspire, challenge, and inform while providing the hands-on information to help us all get through the day-to-day challenges of raising a family. It is a tradition that I am honored to be part of; I have had the good fortune of working with almost all of the editors who have shaped Minnesota Parent, and I have learned a great deal about writing from each one of them. I am especially fortunate to have the guidance of Gail Rosenblum as I learn the intricacies of putting together complete issues.

Your thoughts, comments, and suggestions are crucial in shaping Minnesota Parent--"Editor" is a delightfully egomaniacal position, but I want this publication to reflect the remarkable community it serves. Let me know what you think and what you want to read, as we work together, poetically and pragmatically, to help each other with the magnificent challenge of being parents.